Captains Courageous

by Rudyard Kipling

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What four traits describe Harvey Cheyne in Captains Courageous?

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Four character traits that describe Harvey Cheyne in Captains Courageous are spoiled, entitled, hardworking, and humble. The first two character traits belong to Harvey at the start of the book, but he becomes hardworking and humble as the story progresses, showing his capacity to grow and to learn.

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When we first meet Harvey Cheyne in Kipling's Captains Courageous, we're immediately confronted by the quintessential spoiled rich kid. Having been rescued by some cod fishermen after he fell overboard from an ocean liner, Harvey stamps his feet and demands that the fishermen take him back to port.


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is exactly the kind of behavior we'd expect from a spoiled brat whose old man is a big deal in railroads. Not only does it show that he's spoiled, it also demonstrates Harvey's overwhelming sense of entitlement. He doesn't just want the fishermen to take him back to port; he believes he is entitled to expect that these men drop everything and immediately do everything he demands.

If Harvey remained like this throughout the story, then it would be difficult indeed to reach the end of the book. Thank goodness, then, that he experiences quite a profound change and starts displaying more admirable characteristics.

One such characteristic is humility, a quality not initially associated with his stuck-up young boy. Over time, Harvey adapts to life aboard the schooner We're Here and starts to listen and pay attention to his fellow crewmates.

Once upon a time, Harvey wouldn't have given these men the time of day; he would simply have barked orders at them. But now, he's learned to be humble, to recognize that he has a lot to learn about seamanship and that the other men aboard the schooner know a lot more about the rigors of life at sea than he does.

Over the course of his journey, Harvey also learns the value of hard work. Here is a young boy who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth who had everything handed to him on a plate and who never understood, because he never needed to understand, the value of a hard day's work.

And yet aboard the We're Here, Harvey learns what it means to put in a shift. Far from acting like a spoiled brat who doesn't want to get his hands dirty, he mucks in with everyone else, working as hard as anyone. In doing so, he earns the respect of his crewmates, who can accept him on the basis of his hard work, despite his privileged upbringing.

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